A familiar sight? A common everyday piece of equipment. An alarm to wake us up. How strange that the alarm clock should give us the snooze button—permission to sleep again? It is said to have been first noted in 1956.
But snoozing goes back centuries. Seems a necessary part of rebooting our minds and bodies.
However sophisticated our high-tech world, the lowly alarm clock–or one of its modern counterparts — is still around. And still needed.
Just the plain alarm clock is common enough. Doing its job, without complaint, and asking nothing in return but a bit of electricity or an occasional battery change. And generally unappreciated if not strongly disliked.
And for good reason. The alarm clock is an intentional disturber of the peace. No wonder it gets more than its share of abuse. The marketer of a current brand touts that “its metal frame is durable enough to take any amount of pounding on the alarm clock’s snooze button.” It’s designed to stand up against anger!
But its purpose has to be remembered. It is meant to arouse, disturb, awaken. To do this, something has to be sounded that’s uncomfortable and unwanted. If it sang a soft, sweet lullaby, it wouldn’t be doing its job.
Why the abuse? Human perversity. We don’t like being disturbed.
Of course the solution is simple: turn it off. Forget it. But the momentary triumph may turn into a daytime nightmare of missing the bus, or being late to work, or missing an important appointment—too high a price to pay for a few moments of sleep!
God’s warnings are His alarms. We can cover our ears and drop back into slumber, but who do we deceive but ourselves if in our dreams we are alert and running when we are still sleeping!
This was the substance of Jesus’ message to the church at Sardis.
Revelation 3:1–2 1“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
Can we distinguish the sound of God’s alarm from the multitude of noises around us? If we concentrate on its tone, if we keep our ear peeled for its ring, we will recognize it when it sounds, and it will set our nerves vibrating and our feet flying.
God’s alarm clock is sounding. We have no time for quibbling, or reservations, or rebellion. We have only time to complete what we have begun. And we must be AWAKE to do it. What did Paul say?
1 Corinthians 15:34 34Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Whether Paul meant that these brethren should be working harder to help others, or whether he was reproving them for not getting further ahead themselves, his point is clear: WAKE UP. You are too complacent, too comfortable. Be alert! Wake up! Too much snoozing!
When God gives a warning (alarm) he means us to respond. Take it seriously. Wake up! Our negligence will prove our ruin.
Jesus put it in the parable of the householder.
Luke 12:35–38 35“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
It is all about being ready, being alert, watching. Jesus said it especially for us. Who else would he warn to be on alert whether He should come “in the second watch or the third”?
Jesus’ whole mission was to be a disturber. No time to snooze. No time to be complacent.
The scribes and Pharisees did not like it. When He opened the scroll and read from it early in His career. It was beautiful as He read from the Prophet Isaiah. But when He began to apply it to them, what happened?
Luke 4:28–30 28… all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.
God had a deliverance planned. The angel was there to protect Him.
30Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
Today we have another alarm sounding: fulfilled prophecies. On this alarm God’s clock has a snooze button—not that it invites us to snooze, but if we let it slip, it keeps rousing us. Again and again. It sounds, then sounds again. A few moments of quiet, then another alarm. Another snooze. Another alarm. Each comes with increasing volume as the Day approaches. This is the message of Paul in Romans 13:
Romans 13:11–12 11And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Don’t we see the morning coming? Don’t we see the “day” approaching? Remember what Hebrews says:
Hebrews 10:24–25 24And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Stir one another up to love and good works—”and so much more as you see the Day approaching,” the day of the Lord coming nearer and nearer.
The prophet Joel recorded God’s alarm, to wake up the complacent in Israel (God’s people). Joel 2:1 was meant to be a serious disturber, saying “No time to snooze!” It speaks to the time immediately preceding the second Advent of Christ, and the worldwide distress that will follow.
Joel 2:1–3 1Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand: 2A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations. 3A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them.
Isaiah sounded the same alarm over and over. The simple translation of it is: “Wake Up!”
Isaiah 51:9 9Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, In the generations of old….
Then the peace that will follow:
Isaiah 51:11–13 11So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 12“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth;
Isaiah said it again:
Isaiah 52:1–2 1Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you. 2Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!
Isaiah is intent on the ringing alarm clock. A time for change is coming! It will not always be as it is now. Wake up! Shake yourselves from the dust.
Solomon in his wisdom gave some good advice about the peril of spiritual sleep, even a “little”:
Proverbs 6:10–15 10A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
Solomon has more description of this sleeping one, and his end:
12A worthless person, a wicked man, Walks with a perverse mouth; 13He winks with his eyes, He shuffles his feet, He points with his fingers; 14Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord. 15Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.
Evil prospers today because there is no sentence against it. But when God takes control, it will be different!
God’s alarm clock is still sounding. Soon it will be heard WORLDWIDE!
Now is the time for us to be like the housekeepers in Jesus’ parable. Now is the time to “be like men who are expecting their Lord,” to follow the directive of Jesus and watch.
God’s alarm clock is sounding. We may push the snooze button, but it will sound again and again as the day of the Lord draws nearer and nearer. We may cover our ears and try not to hear it, but that changes nothing. We deceive only ourselves. As Peter says, whatever we may do or say,
2 Peter 3:10–11 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night,
What is Peter’s conclusion as to OUR serious concern?
11Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.
2 Peter 3:14 14Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless
Not frightened and fearful but “in peace, without spot and blameless.”
God’s alarm is sounding. It is sounding in fulfilled and fulfilling prophecies all around us. The Day of the Lord is near. We have no time to snooze now.
As Paul says, in words written especially for our time:
Romans 13:11 11And… knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
No time to snooze now. It is time to be “up and doing.” Remember that little rhyme:
Let us be up and doing, for the sun is in the sky;
Let us be up and doing, for the days are going by.
The Lord spares no effort to wake us up; the illustration of the alarm clock is no exaggeration. He cares for His own and wants us to be ready when Christ returns, lest we perish in our sins. As Sister Ruth said, “When God gives a warning (alarm) he means us to respond. Take it seriously. Wake up! Our negligence will be our ruin.”
When Christ returns He expects us to be watching and ready. Let it not be said of us, “Too late, too late!”
We should be glad for that persistent alarm and make ready to come to Zion with singing and everlasting joy! In the words of a poet,
I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind
And it’s closer now than it’s ever been
I can almost hear the trumpet
As Gabriel sounds the call
I look around me and the prophecies fulfilling
And signs of the times they’re appearing everywhere
I can almost hear the Father
As He says, Son, go get my children.
At the midnight cry
The bride of Christ shall rise
At the midnight cry
When Jesus comes again
“Son, go get my children”… this is no small task. After Jesus arrives on earth, and in another 1000 years, He will finally have us all gathered together. And then, what happens? The earth is annexed to heaven. We will all be together in God’s great, glorious family. So, let us not hit the snooze button one time too many, but wake up and be ready!